Take Me Out To The Ballgame
Here's a fun story: last year, while the Boston Red Sox were winning the MLB Chmpionship, a minority partner of the team, Phillip H. Morse, chartered his private Gulfstream jet to the CIA, who used it to transport prisoners around the globe as part of the official policy known as "extraordinary rendition," whereby detainees are transferred to their native countries for interrogation, and presumably torture.
Isn't that neat? Go Sox!
Between June 2002 and January of this year, the plane has flown to Afghanistan, Morocco, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Italy, Japan, Switzerland, Azerbaijan, and the Czech Republic, and made 82 visits to Dulles International Airport outside Washington, according to the Chicago Tribune, which cited records from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Chicago Tribune, citing FAA records, reported that the jet was in Cairo on Feb. 18, 2003, shortly after an Islamic cleric disappeared from his home in Milan in a case Italian prosecutors are investigating as a kidnapping.
Here was Morse's reaction, and from it I'm assuming that he's blind:
"It's chartered a lot," Morse said by phone from his winter home in Jupiter, Fla. "It just so happens one of our customers is the CIA.
"I was glad to have the business, actually. I hope it was all for a real good purpose."
Don't cross your fingers. Here's a nice little story about the kind of good purposes the CIA is using:
Witness to a rendition
The only eyewitness account of how rendition targets are prepared for their journey comes from a veteran Swedish police inspector, Paul Forell, who was present when such a team arrived at Stockholm's Bromma airport on the night of Dec. 18, 2001.
Forell told Sweden's Channel 4 last year that those arriving at the airport included eight Americans wearing hoods and two others in business suits who introduced themselves only by their first names and said they were from the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm.
"They were very professional in their way of acting. They acted very deftly, swiftly and silently," Forell said, adding that he had the impression the team had carried out many previous renditions.
The two Egyptian-born suspects, Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who had been arrested earlier in the evening by Swedish security police, were handcuffed and their clothes cut from their bodies.
Suppositories apparently intended as a sedative were inserted into their anuses, and diapers were put on both men, followed by dark overalls, blindfolds and hoods that completely covered their heads.
The prisoners were put aboard an unmarked Gulfstream that had flown to Stockholm from Washington's Dulles airport.
The Stockholm Gulfstream, a later model 5 that bore the tail number N379P, also has been spotted in Karachi and Gambia during other renditions.
After the plane landed in Cairo at 2:35 a.m. the next day, al-Zery and Agiza were taken to Masra Tora prison. According to Swedish government documents made public by Channel 4, when the two men were visited by the Swedish ambassador five weeks later they told him they were being tortured.
Neither man was found to have any Al Qaeda connection, and al-Zery was released without charges. Agiza, who previously had been convicted in absentia of membership in an Egyptian Islamic radical organization, was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Digby, who is hands-down the best blogger out there right now in my opinion, gets to the core of this:
This is another of those juicy stories that just eludes the mainstream media. I know they write a story or two here and there. But, it never gets the kind of attention that these right wing soap operas get.
Let's look at the nut here. The US government appears to be using one of the world series winning Boston Red Sox's jet to kidnap and transport suspected terrorists all over the world to be tortured.
This isn't a big story. Scott Peterson, however, is. Problem #7,556 with the corporate media.
We just had Congressional hearings about baseball last week, right? Did this come up? I'll have to check the transcript.
Susan Hu at Kos gets more in-depth on this story as well. The point is that we have to do whatever we can to push back against the smokescreens (ahem, Schiavo) and noise machines (ahem, Michael Jackson) and fight back against torture. It's how we can keep our country whole.